noun(also grizzly bear) (plural grizzlies)
- Ursus arctos horribilis, family Ursidae
- The area is home to around 40 grizzlies and an unknown number of smaller black bears.
- There were wolves about in those days, as well as grizzlies in Montana and Alberta.
- The polar bear may surpass the Alaskan grizzly in size, with the maximum recorded weighing 726 kg.
adjective (grizzlier, grizzliest)Back to top
- On the bus from the airport into Reykjavik, there was a crazy man beside me with a grizzly beard and crumpled pieces of paper poking out of the many pockets in his camouflage jacket.
- The man beside me, a burly, smelly man with a grizzly black beard and a mole on his nose, was looking at me strangely.
- Up in the Visitors' Gallery, Cherie Blair - seemingly unaffected by having planted a kiss on Charles Clarke's grizzly chin in the Lobby on the way in - looked on approvingly.
mid 16th century (as adjective): from grizzle1. The noun dates from the early 19th century.
A grizzly is a large North American bear which has brown fur with white-tipped hairs. Fearsome though the bear's appearance is, its name has nothing to do with the word grisly. In fact grizzly is a variant of grizzled (Late Middle English), ‘streaked with grey hair’. This comes from Old French gris ‘grey’, whereas grisly is from Old English grislic, meaning ‘terrifying’. Grizzle (mid 18th century) meaning ‘to cry or whine’ is a different word again. It started life in the dialect of Devon and Cornwall, and originally meant ‘to grin or laugh’, so has taken the opposite route to grin.
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adjective (grizzlier, grizzliest)
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